It’s always with great anticipation that one awaits a new work from Vancouver’s dance troupe Kidd Pivot. This is particularly revealing given that the dance company has been presenting work for less than five years. Still, before Lost Action even started at Agora de la danse last week, extra dates had been added for next week. After seeing the show, I must say that this is a lucky turn of events, because Lost Action clearly deserves to be seen.
The opening is visually compelling, with upright bodies vacillating due to an inner force rather than any outside agent. They are human clocks that eventually wind down and collapse to the floor. The choral music, even though broken down by electronic beats, retains an ominous tone that complements the scene.
We are then jerked in a different direction by the four male dancers remaining on the stage and standing in a single file, shoulder to shoulder. Every time a member of their ranks tries to stir away from the group, his efforts remain trivial as the rest of the group constantly realigns itself in order to engulf the sole rebel.
However, maybe the only way for individuals to break away from society is to first break away from themselves. So follows a solo by our star choreographer, Crystal Pite, where she offers her disjointed body while retaining a forcefulness of motion.
The dancers come back walking on tiptoes with their hand raised to the skies, demanding that we never for a second forget their being.
But the feeling that comes across most forcefully in Lost Action is a deep sense of loss.
Empty winter jackets are repeatedly being carried across the stage, sometimes to cover up a fallen man. Even when dancers manage to resurrect one of their companions, another one falls in their place, giving us a sense that everything equals itself out, that even when life stops, somewhere else life goes on.
A high point of the show is a female dancer who is able to dance above the floor, generously supported by her four male partners. It’s a performance that floats in its ephemeral fragility between life and death, and that reminds us of the overwhelming beauty that can emerge when people come together out of genuine concern for the other.
There is also a couple that dances with their hands covering each other’s eyes, as if trying to paradoxically recall a moment before consciousness. And the impossibility of their quest reminds us of the most singular, important fact: we are alive, truly alive.
That is why when Pite wears a backpack adorned by a poppy, the war symbol seems excessive, unnecessary. Lost Action is not just about death as a result of war; but about Death, the one that unites us all.
Let’s not mince our words: Crystal Pite is one of the best choreographers in Canada and if you only see one show before the end of the year, you should make it this one.
Lost Action runs until Nov. 17. For more information, call 514.525.1500.
PREVIEW: Briefly interrupting Lost Action’s run at Agora de la danse this week is José Navas’s Anatomies, running from November 7 to 10.
To exemplify my feelings for this work, I will simply say that I got to see it last year and that I plan on seeing it again. The choreography is beautifully purified, the dancers using movement as the basic visual vocabulary of the human body. For more information, call 514.525.1500.